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Bloody dawn : the Christiana Riot and racial violence in the antebellum North /
Thomas P. Slaughter.
imprint
New York : Oxford University Press, 1991.
description
xiv, 252 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
ISBN
0195046331 :
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : Oxford University Press, 1991.
isbn
0195046331 :
catalogue key
3037439
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 199-239) and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Thomas P. Slaughter is Professor of History at Rutgers University
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1992-04:
An incisive account of the 1851 Christiana Riot in which African Americans resisted enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act and killed Edward Gorsuch, the Maryland master seeking return of four escaped slaves. Slaughter gives a dramatic rendering of the confrontation between African Americans and Gorsuch's federal posse and of the treason trial that followed the incident. Persuasive on the point that prior to John Brown's raid no single event contributed more to challenging the nation's ability to solve nonviolently the slavery question, Slaughter sets the riot in a broader context of antebellum racial violence. The stereotype of black passivity is rejected and the point stressed that African Americans in Lancaster were a determined, self-led people who relied on themselves for protection against racial assault. Slaughter seeks to use the Christiana riot as a window on the capacity for collective violence rooted in racial, class, and gender differences, arguing that by the mid-1800s, local courts reflected the community's lower tolerance for violence. Although not as focused as one might wish in relating the Christiana violence to broader patterns of conflict, the book is useful in its emphasis on the social tensions that framed the 1851 events. College, university, and public libraries.-H. Shapiro, University of Cincinnati
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews, September 1991
Choice, April 1992
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Long Description
When four young men, slaves on Edward Gorsuch's Maryland farm, escaped to rural Pennsylvania in 1849, the owner swore he'd bring them back. Two years later, Gorsuch lay dead outside the farmhouse in Christiana where he'd tracked them down, as his federal posse retreated pell-mell before the armed might of local blacks--and the impact of the most notorious act of resistance against the federal Fugitive Slave Law was about to be felt across a divided nation. Bloody Dawn vividly tells this dramatic story of escape, manhunt, riot, and the ensuing trial, detailing its importance in heightening the tensions that led to the Civil War. Thomas Slaughter's engaging narrative captures the full complexity of events and personalities: The four men fled after they were detected stealing grain for resale off the farm; Gorsuch, far from a brutal taskmaster, had pledged to release all his slaves when they reached the age of twenty-eight, but he relentlessly pursued the escapees out of a sense of wounded honor; and the African-American community in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania that provided them refuge was already effectively organized for self-defense by a commanding former slave named William Parker. Slaughter paints a rich portrait of the ongoing struggles between local blacks and white kidnapping gangs, the climactic riot as neighbors responded to trumpet calls from the besieged runaway slaves, the escape to Canada of the central figures (aided by Frederick Douglass), and the government's urgent response (including the largest mass indictment for treason in our history)--leading to the trial for his life of a local white bystander accused of leading the rioting blacks. Slaughter not only draws out the great importance given to the riot in both the North and the South, but he uses legal records reaching back over half a century to uncover the thoughts of average people on race, slavery, and violence. The Whiskey Rebellion, Slaughter's previous work of history, received widespread acclaim as "a vivid account" (The New York Times) and "an unusual combination of meticulous scholarship and engaging narrative" (The Philadelphia Inquirer). It was a selection of the History Book Club, and won both the National Historical Society Book Prize and the American Revolution Round Table Award. In Bloody Dawn, he once again weaves together the incisive insights of a professional historian with a gripping account of a dramatic moment in American history.
Main Description
When four young men, slaves on Edward Gorsuch's Maryland farm, escaped to rural Pennsylvania in 1849, the owner swore he'd bring them back. Two years later, Gorsuch lay dead outside the farmhouse in Christiana where he'd tracked them down, as his federal posse retreated pell-mell before the armed might of local blacks--and the impact of the most notorious act of resistance against the federal Fugitive Slave Law was about to be felt across a divided nation. Bloody Dawn vividly tells this dramatic story of escape, manhunt, riot, and the ensuing trial, detailing its importance in heightening the tensions that led to the Civil War. Thomas Slaughter's engaging narrative captures the full complexity of events and personalities: The four men fled after they were detected stealing grain for resale off the farm; Gorsuch, far from a brutal taskmaster, had pledged to release all his slaves when they reached the age of twenty-eight, but he relentlessly pursued the escapees out of a sense of wounded honor; and the African-American community in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania that provided them refuge was already effectively organized for self-defense by a commanding former slave named William Parker. Slaughter paints a rich portrait of the ongoing struggles between local blacks and white kidnapping gangs, the climactic riot as neighbors responded to trumpet calls from the besieged runaway slaves, the escape to Canada of the central figures (aided by Frederick Douglass), and the government's urgent response (including the largest mass indictment for treason in our history)--leading to the trial for his life of a local white bystander accused of leading the rioting blacks. Slaughter not only draws out the great importance given to the riot in both the North and the South, but he uses legal records reaching back over half a century to uncover the thoughts of average people on race, slavery, and violence. The Whiskey Rebellion , Slaughter's previous work of history, received widespread acclaim as "a vivid account" ( The New York Times ) and "an unusual combination of meticulous scholarship and engaging narrative" ( The Philadelphia Inquirer ). It was a selection of the History Book Club, and won both the National Historical Society Book Prize and the American Revolution Round Table Award. In Bloody Dawn , he once again weaves together the incisive insights of a professional historian with a gripping account of a dramatic moment in American history.
Main Description
When four young men, slaves on Edward Gorsuch's Maryland farm, escaped to rural Pennsylvania in 1849, the owner swore he'd bring them back. Two years later, Gorsuch lay dead outside the farmhouse in Christiana where he'd tracked them down, as his federal posse retreated pell-mell before the armed might of local blacks--and the impact of the most notorious act of resistance against the federal Fugitive Slave Law was about to be felt across a divided nation. Bloody Dawnvividly tells this dramatic story of escape, manhunt, riot, and the ensuing trial, detailing its importance in heightening the tensions that led to the Civil War. Thomas Slaughter's engaging narrative captures the full complexity of events and personalities: The four men fled after they were detected stealing grain for resale off the farm; Gorsuch, far from a brutal taskmaster, had pledged to release all his slaves when they reached the age of twenty-eight, but he relentlessly pursued the escapees out of a sense of wounded honor; and the African-American community in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania that provided them refuge was already effectively organized for self-defense by a commanding former slave named William Parker. Slaughter paints a rich portrait of the ongoing struggles between local blacks and white kidnapping gangs, the climactic riot as neighbors responded to trumpet calls from the besieged runaway slaves, the escape to Canada of the central figures (aided by Frederick Douglass), and the government's urgent response (including the largest mass indictment for treason in our history)--leading to the trial for his life of a local white bystander accused of leading the rioting blacks. Slaughter not only draws out the great importance given to the riot in both the North and the South, but he uses legal records reaching back over half a century to uncover the thoughts of average people on race, slavery, and violence. The Whiskey Rebellion, Slaughter's previous work of history, received widespread acclaim as "a vivid account" (The New York Times) and "an unusual combination of meticulous scholarship and engaging narrative" (The Philadelphia Inquirer). It was a selection of the History Book Club, and won both the National Historical Society Book Prize and the American Revolution Round Table Award. InBloody Dawn, he once again weaves together the incisive insights of a professional historian with a gripping account of a dramatic moment in American history.
Table of Contents
Introductionp. ix
The Escapep. 3
Black Images in White Mindsp. 20
The Chasep. 43
The Riotp. 59
Aftermathp. 76
Stratagemsp. 94
The Trialp. 112
Race, Violence, and Lawp. 139
Race, Riots, and Lawp. 164
Conclusionp. 182
Afterwordp. 187
Abbreviations Used in the Notesp. 197
Notesp. 199
Indexp. 241
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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